Recently we found out that our birds are infected with Marek's. I had 15 Jersey Giant cockerels to be raised for meat, and 6 various layer breeds of the same age. (18 weeks now I believe) Probably 2 months ago is when we had our first loss. We thought it was an isolated incident until about half of my Giants got sick. We took a couple birds to our local Avian Health lab to be necropsied, and they suspected and confirmed the Marek's diagnosis. Every single bird that displayed symptoms have since passed away. (Over half of my flock) And the rest of the flock are carriers now along with my adult layers, most likely. We have no idea where we got it since we had not introduced any new chickens to the flock or to my laying flock. And I have raised several batches of chicks in this same coop/land within the last year without any issue, so we know it came here recently. NOW- some of the seemingly healthy chickens are displaying signs of leg paralysis... and (from what I read) they might not even be edible if they have tumors. So my husband and I are trying to decide if we should put down the whole flock and start over next year, or just put them down as they display symptoms. This is not a decision we take lightly, a couple of my chickens are pretty much pet status. The vet who did the necropsies assured me that we don't have to destroy our flock, but she also said it only lasts a couple months after the chickens are gone, and everything else I've read says at least a year. My questions are: If Marek's came to our property without a chicken "host," how easily can it leave our property? 2 of my sisters also raise chickens and my fear is that we could carry it to their flocks on our skin/clothes/shoes... is that possible? Is keeping a flock of Marek's carriers responsible? I mean with it being such a highly contagious and DEVASTATING disease... I would feel horrible if we are spreading it around by letting our chickens live, if that makes sense. Any feedback is appreciated... Whatever else it is, Marek's disease is overwhelming and stress inducing, at least for us!